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From Director’s Desk

Author: Lieutenant General PK Singh, PVSM, AVSM (Retd)

Period: October - December 2018

The USI is a unique, autonomous Institution with unequalled expertise in the field of National Security and matters pertaining to the Defence Services. It has built an outstanding reputation over the last 148 years. During the year 2018, the USI continued with its multi-faceted activities which included a focus on quality research; participation in national and international seminars; conduct of strategic gaming exercises; a growing internship programme; participation in peacekeeping / peacebuilding activities, catering to the professional advancement of serving officers by conducting correspondence courses and contact programmes for the DSSC entrance examinations and promotion examinations; and a robust international outreach programme. The activities conducted by the Institution would stand out when compared with any other institution/think tank in our country. And all of this was done without the Institution getting any grant or aid from the Ministry of Defence or the Services. Keeping our financial needs in mind a proposal for a one time grant of Rs.10 crores has been sent to Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff on 29 Aug 2018, for approval of COSC.

        The USI library with a collection of over 69,000 books, some dating back to 16th and 17th Centuries is a storehouse of knowledge and archival material. During the period Nov 2017 – Nov 2018, a total of 428 books have been added to the library. The popularity of our website is evident from the fact that it received a total of 21,22,928 hits during the period Jan – Nov 2018.

        Our focus on research leading to publication of books / monographs continues unabated. Since the year 2009 we have published over 149 books and monographs which include 19 published during the current year.

        The Centre for Strategic Studies and Simulation (CS3) continues to work hard to achieve new milestones in the field of research, net assessment and strategic gaming exercises. I am proud to highlight that the Centre has expanded on the quality and content of its research on strategic affairs. The Centre undertook one study project for the Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) named, “Scenario Building and Scenario Analysis: China’s Infrastructure Development in Nepal and its Security Implications for India”. During the year, two Strategic Gaming Exercises were conducted, one for National Defence College, New Delhi and one for Army War College, Mhow. The feedback received from these prestigious institutions has been most encouraging. We will continue in our endeavour to spread awareness of the strategic issues to the operational and field levels of the three Services.

        We conducted the Annual National Security Seminar on the subject “Evolving Geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific Region – Challenges and Prospects” at USI, New Delhi on 01 and 02 Nov 2018. Twelve countries including India (Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Myanmar, Russia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Taiwan and Vietnam) participated in the Seminar.

        USI organised and participated in various bilateral/multilateral national and international interactions. We sent a three-member delegation to Kabul, Afghanistan to participate in the “4th Afghanistan – India Security Dialogue” jointly organised by Afghan Institute of Strategic Studies and the USI. CS3 also conducted an ‘Internship Programme’ for students from Christ University, Bengaluru; Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, Pune; PDPU, Gandhinagar; O.P. Jindal Global University, Haryana, and Delhi University. We continue to encourage our scholars to write for our digital webpage ‘Strategic Perspectives’ and our ‘Blog’. During this year a total of 246 articles were posted on our Blog and nearly 50 articles in Strategic Perspective at USI’s digital website.

        During the year 2018, the Centre for Armed Forces Historical Research (CAFHR) continued with its multi-faceted activities which included the “India Remembers Projects”, “India and the Great War Project”, and the “Rereeti Project” which also highlighted India’s contribution to the First World War.

        To honour the sacrifice of Indian servicemen, the USI conceptualised the plans for the Indian Great War Military Memorial in collaboration with the commune of Villers-Guislain, France, the Indian Armed Forces and the Ministry of External Affairs, Govt of India. The Hon’ble Vice President of India, Shri Venkaiah Naidu, inaugurated the Indian Great War Military Memorial at Villers-Guislain on 10 Nov 2018. The Director USI, Lt Gen PK Singh, PVSM, AVSM (Retd), attended the ceremony on behalf of the Institution. The memorial in France is located near the battlefield where Lance Dafadar Gobind Singh won the Victoria Cross for his death defying deeds of valour on 1st December 1917. Two photographs taken during inauguration of Indian Great War Memorial appear on pages 432-433 of the Journal.

        Apart from the Indian Great War Military Memorial, the USI-CAFHR supported the initiative of installing a plaque to commemorate the contribution of the Indian Labour Corps in France.

        To mark the end of the WW1 Centenary, the USI-CAFHR organised a series of events from 9-11 November 2018 in collaboration with the British High Commission, New Delhi. a commemorative military band concert followed by a reception was held at the British High Commissioner’s residence on the evening of 10 Nov 2018. At the reception WW1 Indian Army War Diaries were presented by General VN Sharma, PVSM, AVSM (Retd) to the former Colonels of the Regiments.

        After the success of the first Staff Ride, USI-CAFHR conducted a two day Staff Ride focused on the Chhamb battles of 1965-1971. It was organized at Kachreal, Jammu jointly in collaboration with the Directorate General of Military Operations. The Staff Ride was conducted by Maj Gen Ian Cardozo, AVSM, SM (Retd), Chairman of the Centre’s Board of Management and Maj Gen AJS Sandhu, VSM (Retd) in Sep 2018. It was attended by officers of 10 Infantry Division.

        The USI-CAFHR assisted the Bangladesh National Museum (BNM) to reorganize and renovate its permanent exhibition galleries (four in numbers) relating to the War of Liberation of 1971 and the Museum of Independence it operates. The CAFHR also curated a travelling exhibition for the Embassy of India, Paris. This exhibition has travelled to 18 different locations across France and Belgium.

        To commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War, the In Flanders Fields Museum, Ypres curated an exhibition ‘assembly-memorial chairs’. The exhibition, which was displayed in the heart of Ypres, Belgium on the final commemorative weekend of 9-11 November 2018, had empty chairs as its central image. Each country that participated in the First World War sent a chair that represented the loss the war left in the homes of the families. On behalf of India, the USI-CAFHR was invited to send a chair. The chair we chose had a distinct Indian appearance and represented those Indian soldiers who died in Flanders.

        The USI continued working on policy and doctrinal related issues of peace operations that include conflict prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and peace-enforcement. These were mentored by Shri Asoke Mukerji, IFS (Retd), Lt Gen Chander Prakash (Retd), Lt Gen Abhijit Guha (Retd) and the Director, and were supported by former distinguished Blue Berets. The USI also actively supported the Centre for UN Peacekeeping in conducting its courses. As in the previous years, we continued to strengthen our linkages with partner institutions at the international level.

        We conducted an International Integrated Programme on ‘Mainstreaming Gender in UN Peacekeeping to End Conflict Related Sexual Violence (CRSV)’ 05-08 Feb 2018. As a founding partner of the Challenges Forum we actively participated in the events hosted by the Forum throughout the year.

        In order to make peace operations more effective, NUPI, Norway, with partner institutions from 15 countries including the USI have established an international research network known as “Effectiveness of Peace Operations Network (EPON). The Director and Lt Gen A Guha (Retd), former Dy MILAD at UNDPKO and Member of the Horta Panel have been in discussions with the partner institutions. Lt Gen Guha also participated in the EPON Seminar held at the UN, New York on 04 Dec 2018 and at the General Meeting of the EPON at the New York University on 05 Nov 2018.

        The USI supported by the MEA (UNP) organised a Roundtable Discussion with a visiting US delegation led by Mr Mike Smith, Director Global Program and Initiatives, US Department of State. The aim of the meeting was to discuss issues pertaining to Peacekeeping at the strategic level and to examine the possibility of increasing India-US partnership in this regard.

        Like the previous years, the course section under Maj Gen SB Asthana, SM, VSM (Retd) is continuing to do excellent work towards the professional advancement of the serving officers and helping them prepare for their promotion examinations and for the DSSC/TSOC entrance examinations. The results achieved this year too were outstanding. The Chief Instructor and the team of dedicated serving and retired officers deserve commendation for the yeoman service that they are rendering.

        Maj Gen PK Goswami, VSM (Retd), Deputy Director (Administration) and his team from the Administrative Branch have worked silently and tirelessly to support all the activities undertaken by the USI. I would like to take this opportunity to record my appreciation to the team for their utmost dedication and the excellent work done by them.

        I would also like to acknowledge the excellent services provided by the Residency Resorts to the members, visitors and delegations. I commend the staff of Residency Resorts for their efficiency, politeness and thank them for the excellent services being provided by them.

        Finally, I thank the esteemed members of the USI, who have been actively participating in activities organised by our prestigious Institution in the year gone by. It gives us great pleasure and satisfaction when we have good participation especially from the serving community at events organised by us. The attendance is of mutual benefit. I urge members to spread a word around about the activities planned by us and encourage others to also attend. We also welcome attendance by others who are not members of the USI.

        May I request you to regularly access and browse the USI Website: www.usiofindia.org to keep yourself updated on activities conducted /planned. We greatly value suggestions and feedback. Should there be any, they could be conveyed to the Deputy Director and Editor or the Deputy Director Administration by email or post. We also look forward to meeting and interacting with you in person whenever you come to the USI.

        The staff of USI and I wish you and your families “A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR” and we pray for your happiness and good health in the coming year.

With best wishes,

                        Lieutenant General PK Singh, PVSM, AVSM (Retd)

Director USI

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